Germantown DBs coach uses experience as USMC veteran to coach his players

David D’Angelo spent four years in the Marine Corps, now he uses that experience the shape the athletes on the Germantown football team
Published: Nov. 9, 2023 at 9:57 PM CST
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GLUCKSTADT, Miss. (WLBT) - As he was approaching graduation at Brandon high school, David D’Angelo had a choice in front of him: try to walk on to a college football team or take a different route.

“I was just a kid that just wanted to get challenged, try to write his own story, do something different than not everybody else was doing.”

The son of a Navy veteran, and grandson of an Army veteran, D’Angelo decided to enlist in the United States Marine Corps with a friend. In August of 2012, D’Angelo shipped off to boot camp on Parris Island.

“I loved everything about the Marine Corps,” he said. “I knew it was the branch for me. I knew it was the one that I felt would challenge me and test me to do where I wanted to do. My dad, my family, my friends were huge supporters of it.”

D’Angelo served four years in the USMC. During his time enlisted, he spent time at different bases in the United States, and even went overseas to Japan, Korea, and Norway.

D’Angelo’s time in the Marine Corps shaped him into the man he is today.

“It was very demanding. It was tough. It challenges you,” he said. “I love getting challenged in any type of way, I loved it, it was very competitive. But, the team building, the spirit, most importantly, being a part of something that’s a lot bigger than yourself.”

After leaving the Marine Corps, D’Angelo knew he wanted to play football, so he enrolled at Belhaven, where he played two seasons for Hal Mumme.

D’Angelo then went to study at Mississippi State. After he graduated, he got a job coaching at Oak Hill Academy in West Point. From there, he spent three seasons as a coach at Bay High School in Bay St. Louis and is in his first year as the defensive backs coach at Germantown High School.

D’Angelo brings the experience of serving in the Marine Corps to the football field to help the athletes he coaches.

“I’ll never forget the guys that I was with, they will forever be my best friends; the teamwork, the camaraderie I had with them. Football is the same way on so many levels,” he said. “Being able to overcome adversity, to me, it was just such a huge part. Things aren’t going to go your way. Life is going to knock you out sometimes, it’s all a matter of how you respond.”

D’Angelo’s coaching style is not quite like the drill sergeants he had back in the Marine Corps, but he is a passionate coach.

“I coach with a lot of fire. I’ve got a tenacity to me. I have a very high standard for them,” he said. “I think the kids will tell you I kind of keep it hardcore a little bit, but they know that I’m not yelling at them or anything, it’s just my mentality. I want perfection for them. In order to beat some of these teams we play, you’ve got to expect perfection out of them.”

His players say he’s one of the more intense coaches on the team, but they feed off that intensity.

“The intensity, it makes you want to go out there and go get it, just makes you want to bring it all out,” said senior defensive back Jeremiah Washington. “He brings the juice, and he always has that extra thump right there.”

“He makes sure we own it every day. He brings the intensity. It’s a different atmosphere when he’s around,” said senior safety Evan Gibbs.

However, D’Angelo isn’t only focused on getting the best out of his players on the football field. He knows he can be a role model and have a positive influence in his players’ lives.

“Some of them are still going through trials and tribulations and I try to get them to understand that if you can enter a certain mentality that helps you be able to overcome adversity -- stuff that we deal with on a football field, but even in the classroom those types of things -- the intangibles I can help instill in them, coaching them hard, making them disciplined, making them understand small details are very key to life and success.”

“He makes sure we’re doing everything we’re supposed to do, makes sure we are working hard,” Gibbs said. “He really does come up to us, just check on us. We really appreciate that.”

Saturday is Veterans Day; a day to honor the men and women who have served as part of the military. D’Angelo is appreciative to have a day that honors not only him, but his father and grandfather who are also veterans, and everyone who has served, and continues to serve.

“All these men and women right now who do not have the opportunity to be home that are overseas fighting for our country, it means a lot for us to be able to take a day to step back and say we appreciate you for what you do and have done,” he said.

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